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Sarah Marie Hall, who devoted more than 30 years directing the American Society of Criminology (ASC), passed away on October 10, 2010, at the age of 72. A much beloved part of the society, ASC was her life and she enjoyed her life’s work until she could work no more.
Probing social analyst, inspiring teacher, unforgettable mentor, Marvin Bressler, the Roger Williams Straus Professor of Social Sciences Emeritus at Princeton University, died on July 7, 2010, at the age of 87.
Bressler was born on April 10, 1923, in New York City. He received his BS in Education from Temple University in 1947, and his MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as assistant professor for five years. In 1957, he joined the faculty of New York University as associate professor and in the fall of 1963 he came to Princeton as professor of sociology.
For 30 years, until his retirement in 1993, Bressler centered his life around Princeton University, devoting himself to the Sociology Department and shaping the university’s academic life in multiple, enduring ways. As the department’s chair for two decades, he built a stellar and cohesive department. His service to the University community was equally impressive and extensive. Most notably, during the early 1970s he chaired the Commission on the Future of the College, which produced what came to be known as the "Bressler Report" on undergraduate education and student life.
Teaching was Bressler’s life-long vocation. He wrote about education "as a secular creed, the university as a worldly church," and the faculty as "lay priests pursuing a calling." His lectures and seminars—American society, sociology of education, and sociological theory—communicated not only formal knowledge but lessons in analytical and critical thinking, making an indelible impact on generations of students.
Bressler’s indefatigable efforts for the university were duly recognized during his lifetime. When he retired, the Department of Sociology created the Marvin Bressler Graduate Student Teaching Award, which is given each year to a distinguished preceptor. The department also named its seminar space The Marvin Bressler Conference Room. In 1994, he was awarded the Alumni Council Award for Service to Princeton for his outstanding contributions.
Bressler was a recognized authority on organizational and intellectual aspects of higher education and a scholar with a wide-ranging command of sociological issues and trends. Appearing in sociology’s flagship journals as well as more specialized publications, Bressler’s investigations covered a broad range of innovative methodological and substantive issues. They included studies of educational reform, racial integration in universities, moral development, the nursing profession, cultural pluralism, co-education and gender differences in career aspirations (with his student Peter Wendell), how to increase responses to mail questionnaires, and more.
An early project analyzing and reconstructing W.I. Thomas’ unfinished study of the New York Jewish Daily Forward’s Bintel Brief (letters to the editor) offered remarkable insights into the Jewish immigrant experience, including one of the most vivid accounts available of early 20th-century Jewish family life. Anticipating current trends in international student exchange, he collaborated with Richard Lambert in studies of Indian visiting students’ adaptation to US universities. With Charles Westoff, his close friend and colleague, he co-authored two studies, one on the measurement of social mobility indicators and one disproving then-common allegations that Catholic schooling discouraged achievement values and economic success.
Bressler’s achievements were noted by the profession: in 2002 he received the Eastern Sociological Society’s Merit Award for exceptional contributions to the discipline.
Bressler served as consultant on educational and social policy issues at both the national and the state levels and participated as a member of "blue ribbon" panels appointed by the governors of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In the 1960s, he served on the National Advisory Committee of the Behavioral Sciences Division of the National Institutes of Health. He was also chair of the research and academic advisory committee of the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress.
Retirement did not stop Bressler. He remained a vibrant presence around campus and in the classroom, enriching the intellectual and personal lives of his students and colleagues. A conversation with Bressler inevitably raised challenging questions, intriguing dilemmas, invigorating possibilities. A virtuoso raconteur, he was equally skilled at listening. Throughout his years at Princeton, he paid close attention and dispensed wise advice to university presidents, colleagues around campus, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as staff. In some cases, his guidance transformed lives.
In one of his poems, Jorge Luis Borges invoked Diderot’s report about a castle’s façade which read: "You were already here before entering, and when you leave you will not know that you are staying." Princeton University became Marvin Bressler’s castle. The memory of his extraordinary presence will forever stay within his beloved university.
Marvin Bressler is survived by his daughters, Jan Bressler Andreeff, and Amy Bressler Nee, and four grandchildren. His wife Nancy passed away in 2007.
Viviana A. Zelizer, Miguel Centeno, Paul DiMaggio, Gil Rozman, Paul Starr, and Charles Westoff, Princeton UniversityBack to Top of Page
Sociologist and Central American labor scholar Henry J. (Hank) Frundt, Professor of Sociology at Ramapo College of New Jersey, died on September 16, 2010, after a courageous struggle with cancer. Hank was born and raised in Blue Earth, MN, the eldest of five children. In 1958, he entered the Jesuit seminary at St. Louis University, where he earned a Masters degree in sociology. He received a PhD from Rutgers University in 1978 and joined the faculty of Ramapo College where he taught for the past 38 years.
He authored several books on worker rights in Latin America, including Refreshing Pauses: Coca-Cola and Human Rights in Guatemala, (Praeger, 1987), which documented one of the first international labor solidarity campaigns with workers in Latin America, Trade Conditions and Labor Rights: US Initiatives, Dominican and Central American Responses (University Press of Florida, 1998), and, most recently, Fair Bananas: Farmers, Workers and Consumers Strive to Change an Industry (University of Arizona Press, 2009), which he completed while undergoing treatment.
Hank was a staunch fighter for social justice throughout his life. He was an advocate for worker rights in Guatemala and Central America for many years. He was an active member of the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project, serving on its board for many years. He was an officer of the American Federation of Teachers unit at Ramapo and its delegate to the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council of New Jersey. Hank is survived by his wife Bette, their six children, and eight grandchildren.
Bette Frundt and Stephen Coates, Ramapo College of New JerseyBack to Top of Page
Alex Inkeles, a distinguished sociologist and social psychologist, died on July 9, 2010, in Palo Alto, CA.
When in the late 1940s, Harvard University received funds to conduct a large-scale interview of Soviet émigrés in Europe, Alex Inkeles, fresh with a PhD in sociology from Columbia, was hired to lead the field work. The sample was sufficiently large to allow detailed comparisons between the experiences and views of those in different social positions. Drawing on this research, he and his collaborators developed a detailed analysis of the Soviet system at a time when systematic research within that country was impossible. His 1961 book, The Soviet Citizen: Daily Life in a Totalitarian Society (with Raymond Bauer), remains a classic account in terms of method and substance.
From his first writings, Inkeles was concerned with the larger cross-national implications of modern industrial life. An important article (with Peter Rossi) in the American Journal of Sociology in 1956 provided evidence on occupational prestige in six industrialized nations, advancing the thesis that rankings were standard, despite wide cultural differences. Five years earlier he had written words that anticipated his later research: "The factory is not merely a productive unit capable of turning out so many automobiles per day, but is also a social organization invested with values and emotional affect by the participants." In speeches he often spoke of the factory as a kind of school in which workers from rural and other non-industrial backgrounds learned about the constraints of time and efficiency imposed by modern production systems.
Inkeles’s commitment to this thesis led to a bold undertaking in the 1960s that few scholars would have attempted. He organized a cross-national project that called for lengthy survey interviews of industrial workers, cultivators, and others in Argentina, Chile, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), India, Israel, and Nigeria. The research involved a different collaborator/field director in each country having substantial autonomy, yet with overall direction provided by Inkeles. This was long before the internet, and the coordination required a constant flow of telegrams, airmailed letters, and visits across different and sometimes hostile frontiers. Despite the inevitable problems that arose in each country, including the sometimes different approaches and views of the several field directors, Inkeles maintained a highly positive form of leadership. He was always ready and in most cases able to develop a solution to whatever challenges appeared, whether logistical, personal, or intrinsic to the research. The main outcome of the overall research was the book Becoming Modern (1974, with David Smith), though Inkeles expanded the scope of the research in later writing and there were collaborative publications on issues specific to individual countries.
Among Alex Inkeles’s other interests and writings, was an important 1969 essay on "National Character: The Study of Modal Personality and Sociocultural Systems." Starting from more qualitative and impressionistic research by anthropologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, and others, Inkeles and his co-author, Daniel Levinson, developed a systematic theoretical and empirical approach to studying personality patterns that are distinctive of different cultures. This work evolved into the 1997 book National Character: A Psycho-Social Perspective, and has had a considerable impact on subsequent thinking by others who explore national character. In this, as in most of his writing, the work is basically comparative; it is also both theoretically driven and empirical in execution; deals with both continuity and change; focuses on ordinary people and everyday life; and is concerned at once with broad sociological issues and pressing social concerns.
Inkeles’s academic life was divided between Harvard and Stanford. At Harvard, he was Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social Relations (1957-1971), with appointments as well in the Russian Research Center and the Center for International Affairs. He moved to Stanford University, where he was a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and a Professor of Sociology and of Education. His degrees had been from Cornell (AB, 1941, and MA, 1946) and Columbia University (PhD, 1949). While at Cornell, Inkeles took an intensive course in Russian language, and then during World War II orders came for him to report to the OSS, where he spent the remainder of the war reading Soviet newspapers and listening to Soviet radio. His 1950 book, Public Opinion in Soviet Russia, won the Kappa Tau Alpha Award for the best book on mass communication and journalism.
Inkeles loved to travel and to view the art and drama of different cultures. He spoke and consulted in many countries. He was a charismatic lecturer, and students and colleagues were affected by the rapid and brilliant flow of ideas of all kinds. Once at Harvard, in his course on "Personality and Social Structure," he was lecturing at his usual tempo. A student raised her hand: "Professor Inkeles," she said, "would you please slow down just a bit so I can get more of your ideas into my notes?" He stopped briefly, looked at the student with genuine sympathy, but then said, in all candor: "I can’t!" And sped on.
Alex Inkeles was a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He was President of the Sociological Research Association, Vice President of the American Sociological Association; twice a Fulbright Scholar; and held fellowships at the Russell Sage Foundation, the Eisenhower Foundation of Taiwan, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. In addition to many other prizes for particular articles and books, and numerous additional honors, in 1982 he received the Cooley-Mead Award of the ASA’s Social Psychology Section.
At Cornell, Bernadette Kane, the editor of the literary magazine, though declining to publish short stories he submitted, took an interest in him and he in her. They married after their graduation and were close companions in all ways until her death in 2005. Inkeles is survived by his daughter, Ann Inkeles Holleb, his son-in-law Gordon Holleb, and their son, Daniel.
Those who knew Alex Inkeles remember him as a person of boundless curiosity and enthusiasm, ever observant and attuned to whatever culture or setting he visited. He was a vivacious person, a charming host, and a warm friend. A conversation with him was always an invigorating experience and always memorable.
Howard Schuman, University of MichiganBack to Top of Page
The distinguished sociologist and demographer Norman Ryder died in Princeton on June 30, 2010, at the age of 86. Ryder was born in Hamilton, Ontario, on August 24, 1923. After receiving his BA from McMaster University and serving two years in the Royal Canadian Navy, he earned his PhD.from Princeton in 1951. He then served on the faculties of the University of Toronto, Miami University of Ohio, and the University of Wisconsin before returning to Princeton in 1971 as professor of sociology. He retired as professor emeritus in 1989.
Ryder’s signal contribution to social science was his elaboration of the concept of the cohort as a mechanism of social and demographic change. A cohort is a group of people who enter a population during the same period of time and go through life together experiencing common circumstances and events. The concept of the cohort proved to be pivotal in allowing demographers to understand the interplay between the level and timing of fertility and how they interacted to determine the rate of childbearing at any point in time. In presenting Ryder with the Laureate Award on behalf of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, the distinguished French demographer Jacques Vallin noted: "you are the father of a method that no serious demographic textbook can afford to overlook."
The concept was also influential in helping sociologists understand the process of social change. Ryder demonstrated that changes in a population’s attitudes and behaviors over time occur as much through the dying out of older cohorts with old ideas and the coming of age of new cohorts with new ideas as from living people actually changing their minds. This realization did not stop him from trying to persuade colleagues of the virtues of cohort analysis. As he noted in a 1988 interview, "I’ve spent my whole professional lifetime as a salesman for the cohort approach."
Ryder is known for a series of landmark studies of changes in the reproductive behavior of American women that he launched during the 1960s and 1970s with his Princeton colleague Professor Charles Westoff. Three rounds of the National Fertility Studies were conducted in 1965, 1970, and 1975, with thousands of interviews with women on issues such as contraceptive use, unwanted births, sexual behavior, fertility expectations, and childbearing behavior. Before this time it was not widely accepted that survey researchers could ask women intimate questions about sexuality.
Results from these studies were presented in two influential and widely cited books, Reproduction in the United States, 1965 (1971) and The Contraceptive Revolution (1977), both published by Princeton University Press. Together they revolutionized demographic thinking on human fertility, provided data to untangle the period-cohort dynamics of the baby boom, and helped document the sexual revolution of the 1960s, thereby gaining notoriety both within and outside the academy.
While continuing to publish widely on fertility issues, including more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, Ryder also advised policymakers in the United States and in his native Canada on many aspects of population studies throughout his career. His many contributions were recognized by peers and colleagues inside and outside the field of demography. He was elected to the Sociological Research Association in 1967 and served as its President in 1974-75. In addition to being named the 2000 Laureate of the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population, Ryder was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and he received the Population Association of America’s Irene B. Taueber Award for outstanding achievement in demographic research. He was also awarded honorary doctorates by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the University of Montreal and named an Outstanding Alumnus of McMaster College.
Norman Ryder was an inspiration and mentor to generations of students both at Princeton and at other leading demographic training centers around the world. He was also a devoted husband to his wife of 63 years, Helen, his son Paul and his daughter Anne, and was beloved by four grandchildren and one great grandchild as well as his students and colleagues. He will be greatly missed at Princeton and by everyone in the fields of demography and sociology.
Douglas S. Massey, Thomas J. Espenshade, James Trussell, and Charles Westoff, Princeton UniversityBack to Top of Page
Franz Schurmann, Professor Emeritus of Sociology and History at the University of California-Berkeley, died on August 20, 2010, in San Francisco, CA.
Schurmann was born on June 21, 1926, in New York City. He served in the U.S. Army during and after World War II, working in Japan as a newspaper censor. He went on to earn a PhD at Harvard in Asian Studies. He began his research in the mid-1950s, at a time when the echoes of the McCarthy era made the study of China risky for academic careers.
His book, The Mongols of Afghanistan (1962), remains a definitive work in the studies of that region. Ideology and Organization in Communist China (1966) and The China Reader (3 vols., editor) established Schurmann as one of the founders of the sociological study of the People’s Republic of China. Ideology and Organization established a new paradigm for the sociology of China by integrating organizational theory with an incisive analysis of ideology and disciplinary expertise. Schurmann’s understandings flowed from his multicultural sensitivities and his remarkable fluency in Chinese dialects as well as an astounding number of other languages. Schurmann refused to demonize the Chinese communists and analyzed sympathetically the challenges they faced in establishing a stable social and political system, while at the same time avoiding uncritical praise of Maoism. He viewed the Chinese revolution both as a world historical event and as endogenous to the deep currents of Chinese social history, especially its great peasant rebellions. Despite his reliance then on the modernization theory, the empirical richness and comprehensiveness of Schurmann’s book makes it relevant today.
Schurmann’s foundational work drew a generation of young scholars to the sociological study of China, not only at Berkeley, but at the leading centers of graduate training on China. Citations to Schurmann’s book are prominent in the work of Yanjie Bian, Lisa Keister, Juan Linz, Victor Nee, Ann Swidler, Andrew Walder and Dali Yang. With other scholars, Schurmann worked for a quarter century to promote rapprochement with and diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China, ironically, accomplished by the Nixon administration.
Schurmann continues to be widely remembered in Berkeley for his rousing speeches to audiences numbering in the thousands during the Vietnam War. Schurmann’s effective questioning of the U.S. war effort at an overflow gathering at Harmon Gym in 1965, led in the following year to a convincing condemnation of the war during a debate with Arthur Goldberg, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and developed into a rousing call to action at the Hearst Greek Theater to stop the war following the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. With fellow Berkeley Professors Peter Dale Scott and Reginald Zelnik, Schurmann formed the Faculty Peace Committee and authored the Politics of Escalation in Vietnam. Schurmann’s message was carried further by Pacific News Service (PNS), which he co-founded with Orville Schell and which went forward under the directorship of Sandy Close, his wife and partner of 42 years. PNS continues to this day as New America Media, an association of about 3,000 ethnic media outlets.
Schurmann’s later books, The Logic of World Power (1974) and The Foreign Politics of Richard Nixon (1987), creatively advanced thinking about the state beyond the conventional accounts of totalitarian regimes and liberal-democratic theories about political culture and modernization. Schurmann theorized about how the development of great power states is contingent upon their global interactions and, in particular, historic transformations of the U.S.-Soviet-China triangle. At the same time wars and rivalries were being waged between these three states, within the states, interests and ideologies fueled wars of position among rival bureaucracies.
Schurmann developed a methodology of fathoming the conflicts between national security bureaucracies from a close reading of what is said, not said, and implied in government documents and newspaper accounts. Schumann taught his students how to use such texts to uncover the usually secretive level of bureaucratic warfare. The analysis of which sources are used, how quotations are selected, and which types of information are leaked or otherwise made available, became clues to what was going on beneath the surface. Schurmann inspired many Berkeley graduate students with his seminar on The Pentagon Papers, his challenges to conventional views, and his wide-ranging intellect. As Paul Joseph put it, "His students always heard his voice, challenging their earlier point of view. To experience a good, productive, intellectually stimulating argument, all his students had to do was to open one of his books or read the notes they had taken during his seminars."
For Todd Gitlin, "Schurmann invented outside-the-box before it became the box. He spun off notions as if he’d invented them—which he had. He magnetized not only people but ideas. He never thought a theory was a person, a thing, a litany, or a catechism. He thought in ideas. They were the medium of his thought. He was, as Emerson said, the American scholar should be, ‘humankind thinking.’ He was an exemplary intellectual, and a wonder."
Schurmann is survived by Sandy Close; sons Mark Anderson Schurmann and Peter Leon Schurmann and his wife, Aruna Lee; grandson Leon; sister, Dorothy Schurmann; and godson, Hanif Bey.
Donations may be made to the Franz Schurmann Memorial Fund to support freelance journalists on special travel assignments: newamericamedia.org/anniversary.php.
Robert Blauner, University of California-Berkeley; Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago; Todd Gitlin, Columbia University; Paul Joseph, Tufts University; Clarence Y.H. Lo, University of Missouri at Columbia; Richard Madsen, University of California0-San Diego; David Matza, University of California, Berkeley; Victor Nee, Cornell UniversityBack to Top of Page
Gresham M’Cready Sykes passed away peacefully in his sleep on October 29, 2010 in Charlottesville, VA. He was born in 1922 in Plainfield, NJ. He joined the army in 1942 and was discharged in 1946 at the rank of Captain in the Corps of Engineers. That same year he married Carla Adelt who has been with him until he died.
"Grex" received his doctorate in sociology at Northwestern University in 1954. He would go on to write five books, several monographs, and nearly an article or book chapter a year for some 35 years. Within four years of receiving his doctorate, he would publish two of the works that would help to establish him as one of the 20th century’s most notable figures in sociological criminology.
The Society of Captives: A Study of a Maximum Security Prison was first published in 1958 during his tenure at Princeton University. Each chapter in this small volume became a classic in its own right. More than a half century later, criminologists and penologists are still familiar with Sykes’s arguments concerning "the corruption of authority," "argot roles," "crisis and equilibrium," and, most famously of all, "the pains of imprisonment." The book was released again by Oxford University Press in 1971 and for a third time in 2007 by Princeton University Press (its original publisher).
Grex co-authored "Techniques of Neutralization" with David Matza, published in 1957 by the American Sociological Review. It’s safe to say that there are few, if any, academics versed in American criminology who are not familiar with the arguments laid out in this seminal work. The article continues to be republished in anthologies for courses in criminology and in the sociology of deviance. There are likely hundreds of thousands of sociology and criminology students in the United States and beyond who over the decades had, at one time, memorized the five techniques of neutralization for an upcoming exam.
Unlike many of his notable contemporaries, Grex’s career was not confined to one or two academic institutions. He held posts at Princeton, Columbia, Northwestern, University of California-Los Angeles, Dartmouth, the University of Denver, and the University of Virginia. While at the University of Virginia, he received the Edwin H. Sutherland from the American Society of Criminology in 1980. He retired after 14 years at the University of Virginia as professor emeritus in 1988.
Following his retirement, Grex dedicated himself to his artwork. He spent tireless hours working in his studio in Charlottesville and had several gallery exhibitions.
Besides being a pioneer in sociological criminology and a successful artist, Grex was a loyal friend who had a terrific sense of humor and who felt passionately about the conditions of the disenfranchised. He will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.
Robert Heiner, Plymouth State UniversityBack to Top of Page